Futhark Song

 

  • Arranged by: Ada Palmer
  • Format: Four polyphonic lines

This song will appear on our upcoming Norse themed CD, Sundown.

The Futhark Song is the traditional alphabet song adapted for the Runic alphabet.  In Viking culture, runes were not simply characters for recording words, but were also the core of Odin’s powerful Runic Magic, and each was associated with a specific magical attribute, and many with specific gods.  Inscribing runes in the correct combinations could cast spells and curses, and the entire alphabet, or futhark (named for the first 6 letters) was also a powerful magical inscription.

Composer’s Comment: My first musical setting for the Futhark Song was a traditional sweet harmony, as one usually expects with variations on the melody, but remembering how diverse Mozart’s settings of the same tune are, it occurred to me that I could do a modal arrangement, and bring in some of the eerie awe the futhark should inspire.  Thus when we perform it these days we usually do a double performance, first of the sweet version, then of the new modal version (which is not included on any albums before Sundown).

Lyrics

F, U, Thu, A, R, K, G
W, H, N, I, J, Ei
P, Z, S, T, B, E
M, L, Ng-sound, D, and O.
Now I know my Nordic Runes;
Next time won’t you join my tune?

Fehu, Uruz, Thorn, and Ansuz
Raido, Kaunaz, Gebo, Wunjo
Hagalaz, then Nauthiz, Isa
Jero, Eoh (that’s a dipthong)
Pertho, Algiz, Sowilo, then
Tyr, Berkana Eihwaz, Manaz
Laguz, Inguz (that’s the Ng-sound)
then comes Dagaz, last Othila
All twenty-four letters in this
order form the Futhark that the
All-Father discovered when he
hung himself on Yggdrasil.